Efficient watering will not only help you save money and conserve water, it can also create a healthier landscape. Avoid overwatering, use micro-irrigation, and water your lawn and plants only when you know they need it or when they show signs of stress. Familiarize yourself with watering guidelines for Broward County, and try creative alternatives to capturing stormwater.
Shut Off Your Sprinklers
The easiest way to conserve the most water outside your home is by simply shutting off your sprinklers. Outdoor irrigation accounts for approximately 50 percent of home water use in South Florida. Reducing the amount of time you leave your sprinkler system on and reducing the amount of days your lawn is watered are very effective ways to conserve water. According to the South Florida Water Management District, lawns only need an inch to an inch and a half of water at a time. Limiting irrigation also reduces soil erosion and runoff of fertilizer and pesticides which can pollute the water system. Best of all, turning down the water lowers your water bill.
- Try watering your lawn no more than once per week. Lawns only need to be watered when they show signs of wilting or stress and when it has not rained.
- Water lawns between the hours of 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. when evaporation is less likely to occur.
- Install water efficient sprinklers.
- If your sprinkler system does not have an automatic timer, set a kitchen timer to remind you to turn them off.
- Monitor the weather. Turn sprinklers off before an expected rain.
Check that You Have a Rain Sensor
We are all capable of conserving water, especially during the rainy season. Installing a rain sensor that automatically shuts off your sprinkler system when it rains is an essential step. According to Florida Statutes (Ch. 373.62), any person who purchased and installed an automatic lawn sprinkler system after May 1, 1991, should have installed, and must maintain and operate, a rain sensor device or switch that will override the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred. The bill was created and is enforced to help protect and preserve our water supply. Although the statute only applies to properties built after May 1, 1991, a rain sensor can be installed on properties built prior to that time. For information on retrofitting irrigation systems, contact an irrigation professional in your area. So check your system, and if it is an older one, consider adding a sensor.
Know the Rules
South Florida’s Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Rule limits landscape watering to two days a week throughout the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), with a three-day-a-week provision for some counties. In 2010, the Broward Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance that adopts the two day a week irrigation restriction. Click here to see Broward County’s irrigation schedule. However, residences and businesses that irrigate with reclaimed water are allowed to water all days before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
Try a Rain Barrel
Rain barrels capture and store stormwater and channel it for use on your plants. You can purchase one or make your own.
Learn a Few More Tricks
- Implement Xeriscape landscape principles by using native, drought resistant plants, grasses and trees. Group plants together based on water needs. Use mulch to help retain moisture.
- Set your lawn mower to the highest setting so grass roots will grow deeper and retain moisture longer.
- Apply slow-release fertilizers sparingly and use fertilizers with water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Install an automatic shut off nozzle on your hose.
FAQs about year-round landscape irrigation conservation measures
Quick facts on sensible sprinkling in South Florida
Water Wisely tips for your lawn